Restaurant Loyalty – Turn a Satisfied Customer into a Loyal Customer.

Will a loyalty scheme help you to engage with & learn from your customers? Will it give them a reason to return while helping you to build your business?

There are various types of loyalty schemes around, those which offer discounts & offers in return for an email address, some which offer a freebie after a number of visits and others which are an annual membership for a small fee with discounts across various chains. Some restaurants use forms ask for feedback, and will then use your details to email details of events & offers – but do customers like this? Obviously the data collected by such cards & forms can be hugely beneficial to a business, and if the customer also sees a benefit then it’s a win-win.

Research shows that advertising discount or 2-for-1 offers can encourage a one-off visit, instead of encouraging loyalty.  Also customers can come to expect discount at certain venues – they wait for an offer and won’t visit without one.

Here at Crosbys where the majority of our customers are independent and local, schemes like these can seem mechanical and without the human element that is inherent in an independent business.  Diners & drinkers like to feel special, to be recognised as a regular or warmly welcomed as a new customer.  Great staff who engage with your customers can certainly be as valuable as a data collecting loyalty card!

Here are some examples of things other North East restaurants are doing to increase Customer Loyalty:

  • Review Sheets – Restaurants in the North East are using Review sheets for customers to fill in after their dining experience, with questions like “how was your food?”, “how was your waiter/waitress?” and “would you recommend us to a friend?”. Add a Name and Email box with some sort of competition to enter and you’ve captured their data. Simple! You can then use a service such as SendinBlue to email customers with special offers throughout the year and can be great for advertising Christmas lunch, without spending a whole lot of dough.
  • Birthday Offers – If it’s a customer’s birthday, you know a party is on the cards. If you’re using Review Sheets, you could add a Date of Birth box to capture the customers birthday. Then, using email software like SendinBlue or Mailchimp, you can automatically email customers a week or two before the big day. You could include an offer or showcase a “Birthday Package” you might have, and by giving that one person an email, you could gain 10, 20 or 40 customers at a birthday party at your restaurant.
  • Loyalty Cards – Have you been to one of the big Coffee Chains lately? Have you shopped in Morrisons or Tesco? You’ll have heard of one of the many loyalty card schemes such as Match’n’More, Clubcard and Costa Coffee Club. They’re an incredibly cheap way to entice customers back to your store. Offers such as a free meal on your 6th visit or a free cocktail when you’ve got 10 stamps can make sure customers use your restaurant or bar over others. If you’ve got the budget to splash out, Swipe cards can allow customers to collect points which can be spent in store. The Hungry Horse pub chain are a perfect example of this, and can often influence a customers decision on where to eat or drink. I’ve had lots of free meals and drinks by collecting points on a card each time I visit, and I get a free pint on my birthday! – If you’re interested in introducing loyalty cards, why not check out Norwich Designer who can create  brilliant designed loyalty cards and many other flyers and posters.
  • Digital Loyalty Cards – Another exciting way to increase loyalty is to use Digital Loyalty Cards. This can be in the form of an app or a card that can be scanned by a mobile device when your customer pays. There are a range of providers that can help you get started including WalletCircle, GainLoyalty and many others. A quick Google search for Loyalty Card Schemes will bring up many services that might suit your business.

So it’s obviously best to tailor your approach to your customers: if they come to you because you have a great atmosphere and fantastic food then keep it up.  If your regulars want value and might be tempted away by other offers then give them an offer they can’t ignore.  And obviously it goes without saying that everything should be served on a Crosbys plate…!

And remember, we’re here to help your business, whether that be with low trade prices on our Crockery and Cutlery or advice on how to get the most from your business. Pop into Crosbys if you would like any advice on anything we’ve mentioned in our blog. We know it can sometimes be difficult to understand the technical side of things, so you can myself, Crosbys’ Tech and Marketing Guru a quick email at nat@crosbys.co.uk and we can offer sound advice on the technical side of customer loyalty.

Loyalty Card image kindly provided by Norwich Designer

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